A Message From Doug Evans, SEMA Chairman of the Board
SEMA Chairman Doug Evans.
As chairman, it’s my pleasure to welcome exhibitors and attendees to the 2016 SEMA Show. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary of the Show, I feel we should all take a moment to reflect with pride on how far we have come and what we have built.
The first SEMA Show was held beneath the bleachers of Dodger Stadium in 1967 with 100 exhibitors. Since then, the Show has become the industry’s most productive annual business opportunity, completely filling the Las Vegas Convention Center. The SEMA Show is constantly changing, but it will always be about providing value to the industry and the mission of helping member businesses succeed and prosper.
As we prepare for the next 50 years, I am pleased to report good progress on initiatives to help link qualified job seekers in the automotive field to member companies, and on efforts to engage even younger kids who will become the workers, entrepreneurs and consumers of the future.
SEMA’s Student Program at the SEMA Show has grown to include more than 600 students from 65 schools around the country. The program includes a welcome lunch and time on the Show floor with exhibitors, and for the first time, a student Career Fair.
The Career Fair is about matching these students with industry representatives to get firsthand experience, and to learn about career paths in the aftermarket industry. The Career Fair will take place Monday, October 31, from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
The expanded student programs will leave participants more informed about new trends and technologies, create new connections and help secure job interviews. We have also designed a new Career Portal on the SEMA website, which since February has seen more than 500 new jobs posted, and generated more than 1,800 applications for SEMA-member employers.
These successful efforts with career-age students have inspired us to engage even younger kids, aiming to help more of them discover their inner car geek. A youth-engagement task force is currently working to define the goals, scope and potential of this initiative. To start, the group recently launched a pilot program—the SEMA Custom Car Camp at the SEMA Garage—to learn more about engaging younger would-be enthusiasts.
The Car Camp took place in July and was designed to give youngsters ages 10–13 a taste of automotive customizing culture. Hosted at the SEMA Garage, the pilot program was geared around the fun of customizing cars and trucks. The feedback from the parents and kids was extremely positive, and the program was a great learning experience for the kids, and for us. The experience SEMA is gaining through the student career paths programs and exploring youth engagement will guide the association as we create more opportunities to help keep custom-car culture in the minds of young people.
Building youth involvement is one of my passions, but there are hundreds of business opportunities and new features that will make this, the 50th annual SEMA Show, memorable for exhibitors and attendees. Our goal will always be to make the SEMA Show better, this year and for the years to come.
SEMA Chairman of the Board